With a pandemic In our midst, uncertainty is the norm and though the air is cleaner, anxiety makes it hard to breathe easy.
In times such as these, where can you go except into fiction? And what better fiction than that of the unreal, the fantastic and the bizarre? Indian fantasy is a riot of demons and demon hunters. There are shapeshifting yakshis and crazed chudails; there are ghouls called pretas and werewolves. The future too is not far behind.
Reading fantasy is a guilty pleasure I’ve developed over the years. Like Bilbo Baggins who left the Shire, every alternate reality is an opportunity to leave behind the comfort of your home or in times like these the chaos all around.
I’ve created a list of some fantasy fiction titles by South Asian authors. Feel free to add more South Asian authors in the list in the comments section and I will update it. Magical Women edited by Sukanya Venkataraghavan: This anthology includes stories crafted exclusively by women authors and features India’s female spirits and demon hunters.
The Liar’s Weave by Tashan Mehta: A story of cosmic errors, set in the Bombay of the 1920s. Zahan Merchant is born without an assigned future and he can change his reality with the power of his lies. How far will that take him?
Dark Things by Sukanya Venkataraghavan: In the dark realm of Atala, Ardra the Yakshi confronts the very essence of her own existence and the maleficence of her Queen, Hera.
The Devourers by Indra Das: A literary waltz in werewolf territory. The underbelly of Calcutta comes alive with creatures from myth and folklore.
Feral by Lakshmi Hariharan: A paranormal genre novella, Feral is part of the Many Lives series and tells the story of Maya and Luke, with an alternate version of Mumbai as the backdrop.
The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn by Usman T.Malik: What happens when a Jinn from the stories of his grandfather in Lahore troubles the memories of a Professor in the US? A poetic read.
Djinn City by Saad Z. Hossain: A book set in Dhaka, Bangladesh, it tells the story of Indelbed whose father was a magician and a trusted emissary to the djinn world.
The Devil Hunter of Chotanikkara by SV Sujata: In the temple town of Chotanikkara in Kerala, demons lurk and there are many: Pishacha, Vethaalam, Pretha. Devi can rein them all in except for one.
Mahayoddha Kalki: Sword of Shiva by Kevin Missal: Indian fantasy has never-ending possibilities. Missal plays on the Kalki myth and creates a character called Kalki Hari who is armed with a weapon given to him by the gods. He sets himself upon a dangerous path.
The Last Witch of Sumer by Venu Joshi: In Del Tores, the Supernaturals –witches, vampires, ghouls and necromancers– constitute the social elite. The abduction of a high Witch sets the scene for Anja’s adventures.
Vikramaditya Veergatha Book 1 – The Guardians of the Halahala by Shatrujeet Nath: The guardians of the Halahala must come to Shiva’s aide if the war between the Devas and Asuras must end.
Cult of Chaos: An Anantya Tantrist Mystery by Shweta Taneja: Anantya Tantrist, an investigator, deals with djinns and a renegade aghori teacher. Shweta Tanuja’s urban fantasy series is a tryst into Delhi and its darkness.
Ambiguity Machines, And Other Stories by Vandana Singh: Speculative fiction written by an author who has scientific sensibilities and a deep sense of plot.
Leila by Prayaag Akbar: Set in a dystopia, a digitized pure city where the rich and poor live different lives, a mother searches for her missing daughter.
Yakshini by Neil D’Silva: Primarily a writer of the horror genre, Neil D’Silva has also written a book about the supernatural spirit, the yakshini or yakshi, my favorite femme fatale!
If you are unable to get the print book versions due to shipping issues, the eBooks will be available! All of you stay indoors as much as possible, read and be safe!